British retail sales surged in October, as colder weather boosted clothing sales and supermarkets cashed in from Halloween, lifting annual sales growth to its highest in more than 14 years.
Thursday’s official data reinforce the robust picture of health given by British consumers since June’s vote to leave the European Union, even if the one-off factors lifting demand last month are unlikely to be sustained.
Longer term, the Bank of England and many other economists are concerned that rising prices will reduce households’ disposable income, and Thursday’s figures also showed store prices falling at the slowest pace since July 2014.
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